Ray & Debi Martin – Host Parents – California

Hosted 14 students including Rasheed from Yemen

Rasheed“Over the past 24 years, we have hosted 14 exchange students from many different countries but never from the Middle East.  This past semester was our first experience with a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) student from Yemen. Rasheed was a great representative of his country. He held several presentations at school about his country and his culture and impressed everyone with his candor and enthusiasm. He is very proud of Yemen, and he showed us his native garb, pictures and traditional dance. When we traveled to San Francisco, we went to a Yemeni restaurant. Over the year, we had numerous discussions about the similarities and differences between Yemeni and American cultures.

We are strong believers in the power of the exchange experience. When our children were younger, we felt that exchange students opened their eyes to peoplefrom different countries and family backgrounds. Our children are adults now, but we still feel that we can offer exchange students a positive American experience. We hope that real-life experiences here in the US will help increase understanding and reduce stereotypes. This may sound trite, but we truly feel that the people involved in student exchange are doing their part to work towards world peace. Without doubt, hosting an exchange student is a life-changing experience!

~ Ray & Debi Martin of California


Would you like to share your YFU Story? Please submit stories and pictures to marketing@yfu.org.


About Youth For Understanding USA

Youth For Understanding (YFU) advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. The global YFU network, consisting of partners in more than 60 different countries, is united by the belief that full cultural immersion is the most effective means to gain the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected and competitive global society. YFU has remained a trusted leader of intercultural exchange programs for more than 60 years because of its commitment to safety, reputation for quality, and exceptional support services. Backed by a global team of volunteers, YFU provides cultural education and guidance to all participants. Selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange program, YFU is the only organization awarded full-listing for J-1 inbound, outbound and short term exchange by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). Through creating global learning opportunities, YFU has promoted international understanding and world peace to more than 250,000 students and their host families. Thousands of parents across the globe trust YFU with their teenagers every year, and thousands of students every year choose YFU to help them discover their inner selves.
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